Hurdles? Shouldn't it be simpler to manufacture in the USA?
Well that can depend on so many things. And if you know me, I like to be as transparent with my fans as I can be. So in this blog, I wanted to go over the huge benefits of manufacturing domestically but also the additional costs and other drawbacks as well.
And if you don't know me, I am not a big corporation nor do I want to be. Bigger yes, corporate no. Of course, over the last 10 years and the rising of costs that affect us and not fast fashion, it's getting harder and harder to explain to new fans the high price tag of a smaller brand. Several don't understand why, when we're not Gucci or Louis Vuitton.
When I first started handcrafting my bags one by one it was exciting. I could customize each item from the size to the handle and more. Of course, that was when the business was in it's very very early stages and I had no real clue as to what it would become.
Fast forward several years and I knew I had outgrown myself and needed to hire a team to help make my leather goods. So where to start? Luckily, I found a local team vs. having to travel to a LA or NYC manufacturing facility and all the complications that would entail, let alone somewhere overseas. I loved being able to drive and still being a part of the process, even to this day. But being made in the USA isn't as simple as that.
Honestly, over the 10 years I have worked with 4-5 different local teams. Each move was based on a few different reasons, some based on pricing, others on deliverability and others higher minimums per color. As a small batch production brand, I had to change my business model over the years to accommodate these changes, from no longer selling to boutiques but exclusively online and at events to. And although I loved offering seasonal collections, that had to change as well.
So why do I continue to manufacturing in the USA when prices overseas are like a tenth of the cost. Yes, it's like that much of a difference! Well, the first being goods made here are more sustainable and environmentally conscious. The second is ethical and clean working environments. The third is you can trust that the product is made ethically by well paid workers, healthy working conditions and human rights laws behind them. It is also much easier to be physically present to monitor Quality Assurance during the manufacturing process.
And to me and I think most of you, it's worth it.
Because the biggest step towards sustainability and humanitarian-inspired shopping can only be taken by you. The “Made In USA” label may come at a higher price, but it definitely is the more ethical one.
The hope in today’s environment, is that the “Made In The USA” label adds additional value to our product. I think this is why so many other brands who started making locally, but then moved overseas, like to hide that fact. If you do not see made in the USA on their homepage, they probably aren't. I mean I like to scream it from the mountains tops!
So every Independence Day, we also like to celebrate us and our continued commitment to American-made!